“…so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me…”
Many of the teachings of Jesus, while sometimes challenging to follow (Love my neighbor? You mean that guy that just cut me off in rush hour traffic?), seem to make good sense. Caring for each other, holding God above all else in our lives, these are pretty reasonable requests of anyone choosing to follow a religious path in life. But this gospel… this is one of those, “Wait, what did he just say?!” gospels.
It starts right at the beginning: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” So right there, Jesus is praying specifically for you. For me. For any and all who read these words. Pause and consider the implications of this. The Son of God is asking his Father something for us. You have to pretty much figure that it’s going to be granted.
And what is Jesus asking for us? “That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us.” I may be mistaken, but it sounds like He is asking that we have the same relationship with Him and the Father as They have with each other. And that we find that relationship in our relationships with each other. If this is true, who or what is keeping me from that relationship? God seems to want it.
Finally, there’s that line, “That they may be brought to perfection as one.” Now, I don’t know about you, but after almost 60 years on this earth, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I am pretty far from being perfect. But when I looked up the original Greek that is translated as ‘brought to perfection,’ I found that it can also be rendered as ‘made whole,’ or ‘brought to completion.’ So another way to hear this is that without the relationship Jesus asks for us, we are incomplete.
My prayer for today is that I get out of my own way and accept the relationship Jesus asks for me. That I find in that relationship a wholeness and completion with all those I meet today. May it be so.
Talib Huff is a volunteer and presenter at Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, California.